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Why not Whitey? (cont.)

Posted: Friday August 4, 2006 11:55AM; Updated: Friday August 4, 2006 3:25PM
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"I don't know which jobs might become available," Herzog said. "The Cubs would be interesting if you knew those two pitchers would get up off their ass and pitch.

"I shouldn't put it like that but ... God almighty, it's got to be a tough decision for the Cubs. But if you take them away, you're starting to scratch your head. That [Kerry] Wood may be better as a short man. Maybe he doesn't have the durability you have to have as a starter. I'm sure Dusty [Baker] and everyone else examined that. They have pretty good baseball people over there, with Dusty, [president] Andy MacPhail and [GM] Jim Hendry.''

It becomes obvious that while watching all those games on TV, he's been thinking about the Cubs. If only for a year or two -- day-to-day, that is -- he'd like to give it a shot. And any team with an opening would be smart to ask themselves, why not Whitey?

Around the majors

Javy Lopez has hit 46 home runs in nearly three seasons with the Orioles after belting 43 for the Braves in 2003.
Javy Lopez has hit 46 home runs in nearly three seasons with the Orioles after belting 43 for the Braves in 2003.
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• The Orioles accomplished their seasonlong goal of dumping catcher Javy Lopez when they found a taker in division rival Boston. With Jason Varitek out, the Red Sox could use young Josh Bard, who was sent to San Diego when he couldn't catch the knuckleball of Tim Wakefield, who's on the DL now anyway.

Boston's also called up Ken Huckaby, who once accidentally sat on Derek Jeter and caused him to miss six weeks. Maybe now he gets a second chance at an apology (Jeter didn't accept the first one). How long before the Sox sign just-released Kelly Stinnett, who could at least provide the Yankees' signs?

• Brian Cashman, whose deals have the Yankees back in first place in the American League East, got through the trade deadline by popping Pepcids like candy. He isn't taking congratulatory calls after getting Bobby Abreu, Cory Lidle and Craig Wilson yet. Said Cashman, "I'm in my ninth year. I've learned not to count on anything.''

• Sometimes, written gems are erasable. When ex-Blue Jay Shea Hillenbrand wrote, "The Ship is Sinking,'' on a board in the Blue Jays' clubhouse he was seen as a malcontent. Today, he looks like a prophet.

• I bet Jose Reyes' four-year $23.25 million contract isn't the union's favorite, and well-regarded agent Peter Greenberg sounded almost apologetic at the press conference on Thursday. Reyes almost surely would make more by going year to year, as Derek Jeter did, but that's not easy to do when you grow up poor, and particularly when you've had injuries. Duaner Sanchez's awful cab mishap might have provided a cautionary tale, too. It's a great deal for the Mets. But no one should blame Reyes.

• Anyone who can guess which AL third baseman leads in slugging percentage skips to the head of the line. No, not Alex Rodriguez. Not Troy Glaus, either. It's Joe Crede, at .549.

• Lucky Penny? Brad Penny wouldn't give his lucky number 31 to Cooperstown-bound Greg Maddux, for a penny or any amount. Then Maddux showed that it's not the number that makes the pitcher.

The Dodgers took hits for acquiring Maddux, whose ERA was over 5 in May, June and July (5.94, 6.25, 5.21). It's only one game, but six no-hit innings in a 3-0 win over the wild-card-leading Reds is a good start. Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, who met Maddux 20 years ago when Colletti was the Cubs' p.r. director, said, "He doesn't have the same stuff, but he has the knowledge. And he has the presence. He's the one of smartest players I've ever been around. He sees the game differently than everyone else.'' That thought's worth more than a penny.

• I'm not saying Chase Utley is going to catch Joe DiMaggio, but it would be great theater because, as my friend Mike Vaccaro pointed out, game number 56 is Aug. 25, in New York, and game number 57 is Aug. 26, also in New York.

• Major League Baseball hit the 50 million mark in attendance on Thursday night and is now on pace to break last year's record of 74,915,268.